GAME+ Spooktober Writing Contest - October 21st to October 30th

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I swear there was an attempt at making this as family friendly as possible :TzuyuKek: that being said...
tw: lots of blood mentions, body horror (?), burying alive

Ah, Halloween.

The only night of the year Xiaojun made contact with any living humans. The kids in town liked to make bets over who would be brave enough to knock on his door for trick-or-treating. Their parents advised against it, which naturally made the game all that much exciting for them. There was no actual danger, of course. Xiaojun would normally just wave them off with a polite smile, saying there were no treats to be found there, or play along with their fantasies a little and act all mysterious, closing the door with a glare and not a single word spared. Because, oh, there were fantasies. He knew the word around town about the creepy young man who lived in the manor by the hills, graveyard to his back door, who was never spotted outside the bounds of his own property. He didn't mind being the villain of local folklore, rather he found it humorous, considering he was stuck in this monotonous town thanks to having been cursed with a conscience, or whatever. He'd become a laughing stock in his friend group for choosing this lifestyle, but if he was going down, he was gonna make sure he proved himself to be right.


And yet, he owned so much to this little city. It catered to all of his very particular needs perfectly. He had handpicked it for all the comfort it would provide him, and in that way it had never disappointed. He felt a knot in his stomach to even think about what would happen to him when he'd eventually have to move out. He was already pretty much overstaying his welcome at this point. Nine blissful years of no blood trails following after him down his carpet floor, no piles of bodies inside his closet, no criminal records to a fake name, no trouble at all. Just kids knocking on his door on Halloween night.

And so, feeling an odd wave of sappiness wash over him, he had decided to do it differently this year. So, earlier that day, he went down to the nearby store, and ordered a big box of all types of candies they had on sale. Dressed in his thickest hooded velvet cloak as to avoid any trace of sunlight, even though the skies were as grey as ever over Dawsbury Valley, he had tried to avoid bumping into any other people than the store's bored cashier on his trip. Even so, he ended up running into an overexcited soul who didn't know the concept of personal space and kept trying to make small talk and, ugh —god, that alone had exceeded his quota of human interaction for the whole century. But ultimately, Xiaojun had freed himself from that threat and made sure that this year, he was going to offer the kids treats, not tricks. And maybe... maybe next year they would knock on the same door, but be met with a different face. He shook that thought away.



It was time. He was already up and dressed for a few hours when he heard the faint knock on his front door. He opened it only as far as the chain lock allowed it and took a peek outside. Six kids stood at his doorstep wearing spooky costumes. A devil, a witch, twin skeletons, a clown, and a little vampire. He noticed three of them were staying further back, as if ready to run if needed. At the front, and probably the one who knocked, was the smallest kid of the bunch. She was the only one he had never seen before, which, combined with how young she looked, indicated that it was probably her first trick-or-treating adventure. Her arm stood extended, as if she had gone still after knocking on his door, but the expression she wore was fierce. She was really determined to be brave.

"Trick or treat?" She tried, barely audibly.

"Just a moment," Xiaojun smiled in return and closed the door for a brief second before opening it back up, more widely this time, free from the lock. He let the kids try to tower over one another to take sneak peeks at the inside of his house as he picked up the candies from the box he had received earlier. They extended their pumpkin purses for him to pour generous handfuls of varied treats. The small girl's smile took up her whole face. Xiaojun imagined she had won the dare. He finished distributing the candies and was ready to wave them good night, when the girl broke the silence again.

"Sir," the smile was gone from her face and she now looked concerned, like she was debating on whether she should speak her mind, "Are you... a vampire?" At that, the taller girl standing with a protective hand on her shoulder removed it to elbow at her side. She just kept her gaze fixated on Xiaojun, waiting for an answer, unfazed.

Xiaojun furrowed his eyebrows in response and crouched down to her eye level, "And what would that be?"

At that, her voice grew in excitement, "It's like a creature! It eats blood for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!", she pointed at her fake fangs and then her cape, "They look like me!"

The taller kid shot Xiaojun an apologetic look. He felt like she was about to thank him for the treats and drag who he presumed was her little sister away, but Xiaojun responded before she could do so.

"Mhm... I guess I am, yes"

"Wow!," The girl's eyes widened comically, "I knew it! My mom said she never saw you at the market, she didn't know how you could-" A hand covered her mouth shut, but she kept trying to mumble words at Xiaojun.

"Thank you for the candy," She did drag the girl away this time, the other kids trailing behind them in different levels of astonishment. Xiaojun stood at the doorstep and watched them leave with fondness in his eyes.

"But that's not fair! I was talking to Mister Vampire-"

"He's not a vampire, Alice." Xiaojun could hear the roll of her eyes in her tone as they walked away from the manor.

"Yes, he is! A real one!", Alice whined.

"He was just messing with ya," The older girl ruffled her hair, comforting her.

And they disappeared into the night.



He went back inside and checked the lunar clock. Only two more ticks before the blood of today's dead fully clotted and became undrinkable. He would have to hurry up if he didn't want to miss another meal.

That's what was so special about Dawsbury Valley. What had made Xiaojun choose this town among all others in the world. They had very simple burial customs. Didn't like the concept of embalming, no fancy ceremony, no endless crying at tombstones. They said their goodbyes, put their dead inside a handmade wooden box, au naturel, and that was it. No autopsy, no intrusive chemical process. They let nature do its job and life follow its course. The whole thing was done fairly quickly too, which was crucial for Xiaojun, since he needed them as fresh as possible. His friends deemed him insane for this. They said he wouldn't survive a year before he caved and just, quote, "started behaving like a normal creature again". Sigh.

He had to admit it was not easy nor fun. For the past nine years he'd never felt fully satiated. Between whatever he could slurp off the local cadavers and the dead animals he found in the woods from time to time, it added up to nothing near a buffet. But he could get by, and that was enough. It was enough if it meant he could stay clear and live a peaceful life, free of the dreads that came with being a man-eating beast.

Equipped with a shovel and a drilling machine, he made his way down the hills and into the town's only graveyard. There had been two bodies today, which was pretty unusual. He painted some weirdly dramatic, impossible scenarios in his head of how the two deaths could've been connected, even though they probably weren't. It worked to distract his mind and stop it from overthinking as he approached the wooden cross signaling the first kind stranger who would donate him their blood tonight.

He hated this part, the digging. Always felt so sickening to profane the tombs of unsuspecting humans who couldn't protest anymore. He dug until sweat started trailing down his temple before his shovel hit a solid object. He set the tool aside and started stirring the soil with his hands, looking for a place he could grip to tear the wooden box open. With a creak, he set the lid aside and whistled as he took in the sight. The body was still in a perfect state. A pretty-handsome-for-a-dead-person young man stared at him with yellow-shot, swollen eyes. Xiaojun closed them before feeling his way to pick up the drilling machine he had set somewhere on the ground. He grabbed it started examining the body. Taking a deep breath, he took in the smell, to see what the scent would tell him about the quality of the blood. Sometimes, it was poisoned or contaminated somehow. Deciding it smelled fine enough, he started the usual procedure.

First mark, femoral vein. He located it and started working, positioning the drill and pressing the button. It started to tear down the skin with ease, penetrating further down the tissue. No blood yet, just torn flesh. The light buzz produced by the drilling machine had a weirdly calming effect on him. When the metal bit was met with resistance, he applied more pressure to perforate the bone. He dug deeper, removing the drill every once in a while to check his progress. Finally, he reached the layer of blood that had settled toward the man's back after it stopped being pumped by his heart. Patting his jacket with one hand, he looked for the metal straw he had placed in one of his inside pockets. He found it and filled the hole on the dead man's leg with it, replacing the drill's head. Slouching down, he slurped on the blood. It was still liquid, thankfully. With his eyes closed, he took three blissful sips until nothing would travel up to his tongue anymore. He started the same process on the second mark, the subclavian vein. And then on the third and last, the jugular. Those didn't have much more than one sip each. He'd been so hungry. Interacting with that many humans in the span of a few days after not having seen one for ages was definitely not wise. He couldn't slip up again. At least he still had a second body.

He muttered some words of gratitude to the nameless man who had fed him and closed the lid of his wooden casket. After filling up the grave back with soil, he made his way through the graveyard to the second tomb. He was getting close, when he heard something. A very faint, rhythmic noise.

A heartbeat? That made no sense. He was the only live thing in that graveyard, and his heart was still as stone. Had he been followed? Did someone see him violate a tomb and drink the blood off a dead body by straw? If his own heart could beat, he was sure it would have been frantic at that moment. Crouching down and staying alert to his surroundings, he kept following the sound. An idea crossed Xiaojun's mind that made him freeze in his tracks. It couldn't have been one of the kids? Alice? Please, no —he begged silently— poor innocent Alice didn't deserve to be involved in his mess. Those who did, usually ended up-

Expecting the worst as he heard the heartbeat grow louder, he looked around. No one, not a soul. The wooden crosses weren't tall or wide enough to cover a human body, so there weren't many hiding spots in there, either. Xiaojun walked straight, but the sound started getting farther away again from there. He was standing at the point where it was at its loudest. As if he were standing... over it.

For a moment he had gotten so distracted he didn't realize he arrived at the tomb he was looking for. In fact, he was standing right on top of it, and the heartbeat was coming from below. He grabbed his shovel and started digging frantically. When he got to the casket, there was a strong thump below his feet that shook his whole body. Something was hitting the lid of the casket from the other side. Xiaojun found a position where he wasn't standing over it and the lid was tore open before him. A young man sat up in an abrupt motion, desperately gasping for air. His lips were so dry they were bleeding in several spots. Xiaojun stared at him, in a panic. He needed water. Food. Medical care.

"Dude," the first words the man said came out hoarse, as if he were making a huge effort to enunciate them, "What the hell"

A nervous snort left Xiaojun's mouth, "Indeed"

"How- how did I end up here?"

"You tell me," Xiaojun shrugged and scratched the back of his neck, "I saw you get buried earlier today, from my window. Then I found you now. That's all I know."

The man squinted his eyes, "Are you the mortician? How did you know I was alive down here, anyway?"

"I'm-" He couldn't just tell him he had heard his heartbeat, for obvious reasons, "Yeah, kinda. Intuition, I guess? Something felt off"

The man hummed in acknowledgement, willing to let it go, though he wasn't at the slightest convinced. There was no reason to question the guy who had just saved him from a terrible, claustrophobic destiny, right? "I'm Yangyang," he said, instead.

"I'm Xiaojun. Welcome back to the land of the living, I guess," Xiaojun offered him a crooked smile.

"Jeez, thanks man, I mean it. Those weren't fun moments down here"

Xiaojun nodded, thoughtfully, "You don't know anything about how you ended up here, hm?" He asked, to which Yangyang just nodded affirmatively, "Then... what's the last memory you have?"

"Uh," Yangyang looked up, as if trying to recollect, "I was kind of wasted, I think. I'm not really from here, I came for a party. I remember walking down the trail in the woods with my friend. Then, everything just went black."

"This friend of yours..." Xiaojun furrowed his brows, "How much do you trust them?"

Yangyang responded with what Xiaojun supposed was a snort, except it didn't sound quite right due to his condition, "Not at all. I called him 'friend' just cause I wouldn't know what to call him otherwise. More like a frenemy at best."

"I see," He said, not wanting to voice out his thoughts. Not right now, at least. There were more important things Yangyang needed at the moment than to be fed with Xiaojun's made-up conspiracy theories about his potentially murderous friends. "Come on, I'll carry you so we can get some liquid and food into your system before you die from dehydration and my heroic act goes to waste just like that"

Yangyang grinned at that, offering his arms for Xiaojun to pick him up and fluttering his long eyelashes at him, "And then you're gonna tell me all about how you planned to murder me and failed miserably?"

Silence.
 
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I swear there was an attempt at making this as family friendly as possible :TzuyuKek: that being said...
tw: lots of blood mentions, body horror (?), burying alive

Ah, Halloween.

The only night of the year Xiaojun made contact with any living humans. The kids in town liked to make bets over who would be brave enough to knock on his door for trick-or-treating. Their parents advised against it, which naturally made the game all that much exciting for them. There was no actual danger, of course. Xiaojun would normally just wave them off with a polite smile, saying there were no treats to be found there, or play along with their fantasies a little and act all mysterious, closing the door with a glare and not a single word spared. Because, oh, there were fantasies. He knew the word around town about the creepy young man who lived in the manor by the hills, graveyard to his back door, who was never spotted outside the bounds of his own property. He didn't mind being the villain of local folklore, rather he found it humorous, considering he was stuck in this monotonous town thanks to having been cursed with a conscience, or whatever. He'd become a laughing stock in his friend group for choosing this lifestyle, but if he was going down, he was gonna make sure he proved himself to be right.


And yet, he owned so much to this little city. It catered to all of his very particular needs perfectly. He had handpicked it for all the comfort it would provide him, and in that way it had never disappointed. He felt a knot in his stomach to even think about what would happen to him when he'd eventually have to move out. He was already pretty much overstaying his welcome at this point. Nine blissful years of no blood trails following after him down his carpet floor, no piles of bodies inside his closet, no criminal records to a fake name, no trouble at all. Just kids knocking on his door on Halloween night.

And so, feeling an odd wave of sappiness wash over him, he had decided to do it differently this year. So, earlier that day, he went down to the nearby store, and ordered a big box of all types of candies they had on sale. Dressed in his thickest hooded velvet cloak as to avoid any trace of sunlight, even though the skies were as grey as ever over Dawsbury Valley, he had tried to avoid bumping into any other people than the store's bored cashier on his trip. Even so, he ended up running into an overexcited soul who didn't know the concept of personal space and kept trying to make small talk and, ugh —god, that alone had exceeded his quota of human interaction for the whole century. But ultimately, Xiaojun had freed himself from that threat and made sure that this year, he was going to offer the kids treats, not tricks. And maybe... maybe next year they would knock on the same door, but be met with a different face. He shook that thought away.



It was time. He was already up and dressed for a few hours when he heard the faint knock on his front door. He opened it only as far as the chain lock allowed it and took a peek outside. Six kids stood at his doorstep wearing spooky costumes. A devil, a witch, twin skeletons, a clown, and a little vampire. He noticed three of them were staying further back, as if ready to run if needed. At the front, and probably the one who knocked, was the smallest kid of the bunch. She was the only one he had never seen before, which, combined with how young she looked, indicated that it was probably her first trick-or-treating adventure. Her arm stood extended, as if she had gone still after knocking on his door, but the expression she wore was fierce. She was really determined to be brave.

"Trick or treat?" She tried, barely audibly.

"Just a moment," Xiaojun smiled in return and closed the door for a brief second before opening it back up, more widely this time, free from the lock. He let the kids try to tower over one another to take sneak peeks at the inside of his house as he picked up the candies from the box he had received earlier. They extended their pumpkin purses for him to pour generous handfuls of varied treats. The small girl's smile took up her whole face. Xiaojun imagined she had won the dare. He finished distributing the candies and was ready to wave them good night, when the girl broke the silence again.

"Sir," the smile was gone from her face and she now looked concerned, like she was debating on whether she should speak her mind, "Are you... a vampire?" At that, the taller girl standing with a protective hand on her shoulder removed it to elbow at her side. She just kept her gaze fixated on Xiaojun, waiting for an answer, unfazed.

Xiaojun furrowed his eyebrows in response and crouched down to her eye level, "And what would that be?"

At that, her voice grew in excitement, "It's like a creature! It eats blood for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!", she pointed at her fake fangs and then her cape, "They look like me!"

The taller kid shot Xiaojun an apologetic look. He felt like she was about to thank him for the treats and drag who he presumed was her little sister away, but Xiaojun responded before she could do so.

"Mhm... I guess I am, yes"

"Wow!," The girl's eyes widened comically, "I knew it! My mom said she never saw you at the market, she didn't know how you could-" A hand covered her mouth shut, but she kept trying to mumble words at Xiaojun.

"Thank you for the candy," She did drag the girl away this time, the other kids trailing behind them in different levels of astonishment. Xiaojun stood at the doorstep and watched them leave with fondness in his eyes.

"But that's not fair! I was talking to Mister Vampire-"

"He's not a vampire, Alice." Xiaojun could hear the roll of her eyes in her tone as they walked away from the manor.

"Yes, he is! A real one!", Alice whined.

"He was just messing with ya," The older girl ruffled her hair, comforting her.

And they disappeared into the night.



He went back inside and checked the solar clock. Only two more ticks before the blood of today's dead fully clotted and became undrinkable. He would have to hurry up if he didn't want to miss another meal.

That's what was so special about Dawsbury Valley. What had made Xiaojun choose this town among all others in the world. They had very simple burial customs. Didn't like the concept of embalming, no fancy ceremony, no endless crying at tombstones. They said their goodbyes, put their dead inside a handmade wooden box, au naturel, and that was it. No autopsy, no intrusive chemical process. They let nature do its job and life follow its course. The whole thing was done fairly quickly too, which was crucial for Xiaojun, since he needed them as fresh as possible. His friends deemed him insane for this. They said he wouldn't survive a year before he caved and just, quote, "started behaving like a normal creature again". Sigh.

He had to admit it was not easy nor fun. For the past nine years he'd never felt fully satiated. Between whatever he could slurp off the local cadavers and the dead animals he found in the woods from time to time, it added up to nothing near a buffet. But he could get by, and that was enough. It was enough if it meant he could stay clear and live a peaceful life, free of the dreads that came with being a man-eating beast.

Equipped with a shovel and a drilling machine, he made his way down the hills and into the town's only graveyard. There had been two bodies today, which was pretty unusual. He painted some weirdly dramatic, impossible scenarios in his head of how the two deaths could've been connected, even though he knew they weren't. It worked to distract his mind and stop it from overthinking as he approached the wooden cross signaling the first kind stranger who would donate him their blood tonight.

He hated this part, the digging. Always felt so sickening to profane the tombs of unsuspecting humans who couldn't protest anymore. He dug until sweat started trailing down his temple before his shovel hit a solid object. He set the tool aside and started stirring the soil with his hands, looking for a place he could grip to tear the wooden box open. With a creak, he set the lid aside and whistled as he took in the sight. The body was still in a perfect state. A pretty-handsome-for-a-dead-person young man stared at him with yellow-shot, swollen eyes. Xiaojun closed them before feeling his way to pick up the drilling machine he had set somewhere on the ground. He grabbed it started examining the body. Taking a deep breath, he took in the smell, to see what the scent would tell him about the quality of the blood. Sometimes, it was poisoned or contaminated somehow. Deciding it smelled fine enough, he started the usual procedure.

First mark, femoral vein. He located it and started working, positioning the drill and pressing the button. It started to tear down the skin with ease, penetrating further down the tissue. No blood yet, just torn flesh. The light buzz produced by the drilling machine had a weirdly calming effect on him. When the metal bit was met with resistance, he applied more pressure to perforate the bone. He dug deeper, removing the drill every once in a while to check his progress. Finally, he reached the layer of blood that had settled toward the man's back after it stopped being pumped by his heart. Patting his jacket with one hand, he looked for the metal straw he had placed in one of his inside pockets. He found it and filled the hole on the dead man's leg with it, replacing the drill's head. Slouching down, he slurped on the blood. It was still liquid, thankfully. With his eyes closed, he took three blissful sips until nothing would travel up to his tongue anymore. He started the same process on the second mark, the subclavian vein. And then on the third and last, the jugular. Those didn't have much more than one sip each. He'd been so hungry. Interacting with that many humans in the span of a few days after not having seen one for ages was definitely not wise. He couldn't slip up again. At least he still had a second body.

He muttered some words of gratitude to the nameless man who had fed him and closed the lid of his wooden casket. After filling up the grave back with soil, he made his way through the graveyard to the second tomb. He was getting close, when he heard something. A very faint, rhythmic noise.

A heartbeat? That made no sense. He was the only live thing in that graveyard, and his heart was still as stone. Had he been followed? Did someone see him violate a tomb and drink the blood off a dead body by straw? If his own heart could beat, he was sure it would have been frantic at that moment. Crouching down and staying alert to his surroundings, he kept following the sound. An idea crossed Xiaojun's mind that made him freeze in his tracks. It couldn't have been one of the kids? Alice? Please, no —he begged silently— poor innocent Alice didn't deserve to be involved in his mess. Those who did, usually ended up-

Expecting the worst as he heard the heartbeat grow louder, he looked around. No one, not a soul. The wooden crosses weren't tall or wide enough to cover a human body, so there weren't many hiding spots in there, either. Xiaojun walked straight, but the sound started getting farther away again from there. He was standing at the point where it was at its loudest. As if he were standing... over it.

For a moment he had gotten so distracted he didn't realize he arrived at the tomb he was looking for. In fact, he was standing right on top of it, and the heartbeat was coming from below. He grabbed his shovel and started digging frantically. When he got to the casket, there was a strong thump below his feet that shook his whole body. Something was hitting the lid of the casket from the other side. Xiaojun found a position where he wasn't standing over it and the lid was tore open before him. A young man sat up in an abrupt motion, desperately gasping for air. His lips were so dry they were bleeding in several spots. Xiaojun stared at him, in a panic. He needed water. Food. Medical care.

"Dude," the first words the man said came out hoarse, as if he were making a huge effort to enunciate them, "What the hell"

A nervous snort left Xiaojun's mouth, "Indeed"

"How- how did I end up here?"

"You tell me," Xiaojun shrugged and scratched the back of his neck, "I saw you get buried earlier today, from my window. Then I found you now. That's all I know."

The man squinted his eyes, "Are you the mortician? How did you know I was alive down here, anyway?"

"I'm-" He couldn't just tell him he had heard his heartbeat, for obvious reasons, "Yeah, kinda. Intuition, I guess? Something felt off"

The man hummed in acknowledgement, willing to let it go, though he wasn't at the slightest convinced. There was no reason to question the guy who had just saved him from a terrible, claustrophobic destiny, right? "I'm Yangyang," he said, instead.

"I'm Xiaojun. Welcome back to the land of the living, I guess," Xiaojun offered him a crooked smile.

"Jeez, thanks man, I mean it. Those weren't fun moments down here"

Xiaojun nodded, thoughtfully, "You don't know anything about how you ended up here, hm?" He asked, to which Yangyang just nodded affirmatively, "Then... what's the last memory you have?"

"Uh," Yangyang looked up, as if trying to recollect, "I was kind of wasted, I think. I'm not really from here, I came for a party. I remember walking down the trail in the woods with my friend. Then, everything just went black."

"This friend of yours..." Xiaojun furrowed his brows, "How much do you trust them?"

Yangyang responded with what Xiaojun supposed was a snort, except it didn't sound quite right due to his condition, "Not at all. I called him 'friend' just cause I wouldn't know what to call him otherwise. More like a frenemy at best."

"I see," He said, not wanting to voice out his thoughts. Not right now, at least. There were more important things Yangyang needed at the moment than to be fed with Xiaojun's made-up conspiracy theories about his potentially murderous friends. "Come on, I'll carry you so we can get some liquid and food into your system before you die from dehydration and my heroic act goes to waste just like that"

Yangyang grinned at that, offering his arms for Xiaojun to pick him up and fluttering his long eyelashes at him, "And then you're gonna tell me all about how you planned to murder me and failed miserably?"

Silence.
Netflix adaptation of this entire TRILOGY when?
 

Cinna

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:darkkermit: It's under PG-13 I promise.
Captured by the Beast

I'll be it's fourth victim. I'm certain.

I draw the curtain and peer out my bedroom window. I see no one -- only litter scattered up and down the street and a few abandoned cars. I breathe deeply, trying to center myself. This is it. There is no hope of escape. No rescues. No miracles. I've known this day was coming.

A vicious beast haunts this town. Known to be a shape-shifter, its form each year is unpredictable. However, those who have seen it say its color is a midnight black that even the ravens envy. Its piercing gaze paralyzes the body, its cry unnerves the soul, and its hunger...

A sacrifice must be given. Without fail, this ferocious creature claims its prey once a year on Halloween.

I leave the warmth of my home and start along the path, marching towards my fate with a shaky gait and pounding heart. I know my destination. I go to meet and end my suffering. There will be blood tonight. Mine.

The crisp autumn breeze sings melodiously through the branches. With each step, fallen leaves crackle beneath my soles. I'm almost there.

And then I spot it. The terrifying, magnificent beast.

Next to it is a human figure. Has it claimed a victim already? I shudder as ice-cold liquid pours through my veins. Barely a few meters separate us, the distance closing as a I trudge forward with white knuckles.

That looks like the elderly Mrs. Brown and...a feline.

I arrive. Christofur the black cat, squeezed into a cheap-looking pirate costume, stares up at me with murderous eyes and hisses.

There he is. The fluffy, little beast. Looking very unlike Captain Jack Sparrow.

"You're finally here!" exclaims Mrs. Brown. "Just in time for the raffle. Everyone's waiting so come in!"

The moon is high in the sky, and almost everyone from this small neighborhood has gathered at Mrs. Brown's home for her annual Halloween party. While the children are busy stuffing their cheeks with candy, the adults are participating in a fundraising raffle.

Mrs. Brown is a lovely old woman who lives in the largest house in town. After moving in five years ago, she quickly became a blessing to the local community. From organizing charity events to volunteering for the food pantry and homeless shelter, we see her practically everywhere. She was also heavily involved in stopping the oldest patch of forest by the lake from being torn down for construction. Basically, everyone loves Mrs. Brown.

Christofur was a birthday gift from her late husband. She loves him to pieces and spoils him rotten! (He's a bit chubby, if we are perfectly honest.)

Among the various spooky-themed prizes to be won at the raffle, the biggest reward (in Mrs. Brown's opinion) is for one lucky (or unlucky) individual to hold her precious baby for a photo. The first Halloween party he was dressed as a cowboy. The next year he was a clown. Then finally last year, a bumble bee. Anyone can tell from the pictures that Christofur loves dressing up and being held by a stranger. And the funny thing is, Mrs. Brown sincerely thinks he enjoys it.

You don't need psychic powers to guess the result. After the photos are taken, the person typically walks away with a couple scratches souvenirs!

I won last year but had to leave early, so someone else took my place. I escaped with my life missed my opportunity, so Mrs. Brown insisted that I get my turn next year. She really is a nice lady, and Christofur is very cute. And so none of us have the heart to turn her down. No pain, no gain.

So now the moment has come. After the raffle is over, Mrs. Brown enthusiastically hands over the tiny swashbuckler. I cradle him as gently as I can in my arms, praying for my currently unmarked skin. Disaster is mere seconds away, but we pose for the camera.

I'll be his forth victim. I'm certain!
 

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My entry.

The Last Halloween Bag
By UMJI MOODS

At eleven and getting tall recently Alex realized that this was probably the last time for Halloween trick or treating. No store bought costume either because the family was on a tight budget with mom out of work. Some old clothes from the rag bag, a shapeless old hat and taller yellow grass clippings here and there made for a passible scarecrow outfit. No fancy plastic candy bag with Halloween pictures on the side either. Just an old brown paper sack with handles. Alex drew a screeching black cat on the front with a marker. Ready for the big day.
Halloween came and it rained all morning. It rained all day. The rain still came as trick or treating time approached. "I am going no matter" thought Alex. The costume quickly put on and out the door. No one else was in sight as the rain came down heavily. A few houses had lights on and responded to the knock and call of "Trick or treat" with the gift of candy.
Alex walked farther down the street into unfamiliar territory. Now soaked through but not ready to give up. Finally the street was at an end. Only one house remained. A tall ungainly looking house that looked like it was there for a couple of hundred years. The porch light was on though. "One last time" , thought Alex.
"Trick or treat" called Alex as the door was opened by an elderly woman in a dark blue dress, striped red and black hose and a pair of slippers that looked like black cats. Alex held out the soaked paper sack for whatever treats might be offered. Just then the soggy bottom burst and candy and wads of paper littered the old woman's steps.
"Oh no". cried Alex, "I apologize and will clean up this mess. I am extremely sorry". The old woman looked down with shining eyes at Alex frantically clutching the bits and pieces of the bag. "Wait here and don't worry my child" she said disappearing into her house. "
"Use this", she said when she returned offering Alex an old grey bag of soft cloth that bulged lightly at the bottom. "This was my Halloween bag for years", she said continuing, "I put some extra candy in the bottom because you were so polite".
Alex took the bag with tearfilled eyes. "Thank you so much for your kindness" was all the stunned child could say. With that the elderly woman sent Alex off because it was getting late.
Back at home in warm and dry clothes Alex sat on the floor to check the candy. Between the few earlier houses and the last kind lady there should be 10 or 12 pieces of candy. Slowly counting the amount. 1...3...7...15...20...28? The little bag still bulged at the bottom. 35...43...56...62? There seemed no end. 80...94...107? Confused and tired Alex put the candy in neat piles and went to bed.
The next day saw a lot more candy come out of the bag. "I must speak with the nice lady who gave me the bag" Alex thought wandering down the street. Reaching the location brought a new surprise as the house was missing. A man was out across the street in his front yard. "What happened to the tall old house that was over there? " Alex asked the man. "No house there" said the man, "I have lived here for thirty years". Puzzled and confused, Alex went back home.
With the bag on the table Alex thought, "I wish I knew what happened here". Aimlessly putting a hand in the bag to get a piece of candy a surprise was at hand. A small note in old fashioned writing came instead. It read, "A kindness given should always be returned. I am returning your's. I hope that you will share it with others."
Alex always did so from then on. The bag would come out many times. For friends. For children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Many years passed and Alex was old and frail. It was Halloween. Alex knew that it was probably the last one. It rained in the morning and afternoon. It still rained as trick or treat time approached. A few children in fancy store bought costumes came. Their mothers holding umbrellas over their heads. The hour drew late. A timid knock came at the door. A youngster of 10 or 11 in a homemade costume. Dirty and crying the child said "I am very sorry, I stumbled and knocked over one of your flower pots. I made sure that I cleaned it up but I wanted you to know what happened". Looking down Alex spoke, "Your candy bag is torn open, wait here a moment". Quickly a small note was written and placed deep inside the old grey bag. Returning Alex said, "this was my Halloween bag for years, there is extra candy in the bottom". The now smiling child took the bag and hugged it tightly thanking Alex many times before leaving.
Alex slowly sank into the old soft chair in the living room. A smile crossed the timeworn face and a final thought as conscious passed, "The last Halloween, but it was the best".
 

Vampire

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I Can't Believe My Murder Mystery Turned Into Halloween-Themed Fluff?!
A "The Mystery of H+ Academy" AU where no one dies and Alice and Ren get to be cute and silly.

Ren glanced at the library's imposing doors for a third time; his paranoia was increasingly becoming more difficult to pretend he didn't have, but so was his irritation at his own inaction. This was getting stupid. He just needed to get it over with if he had already gone through the trouble! Sighing, he finally forced himself up from his couch and quietly shuffled over to Alice and her throne—or, that's what it might as well have been, anyway.

"Hey, Alice."

The Ultimate Gardener hummed in acknowledgement. Before he continued, he took one final glance at the doors—okay, good, they were definitely still alone—and reached into his backpack he had with him. Alice lifted her gaze from the book in her lap and watched the movement with reserved interest. What was that she was reading anyway? Phantom of the Opera?

"Happy Halloween."

Ren unceremoniously dropped an orange cellophane bag on top of her open book, and its material crinkled loudly when she held it up to get a closer look.

After a moment of silence, Alice politely informed him, "Today isn't Halloween."

Jesus Christ.

"No shit, Sherlock! But we're not going to see each other when it is, so I baked the cookies last night to give to you today," he said, clearly pained by this whole ordeal. Him—the Ultimate Baker—willingly getting himself into an ultimate awkward situation; what a chump, an absolute loser!

"Alice didn't go 'Trick-Or-Treat'."

"Alright, you know what? Give it back, you-" he started reaching only to be cut off by a palpable sense of resistance from the Ultimate Gardener. "Alice will give it back... if Alice gets to leave the library and knock on the door and say 'Trick-Or-Treat'. Then Ren will give Alice the treat again. Then it will be like Halloween."

"Fuck. No."

Alice's eyebrows furrowed very straight, and her frown stretched very round; it was almost a cartoonishly perfect demonstration of indignation on her part, but he shouldn't let himself be swayed by that.

Definitely not.

Of course not.

"Goddammit, l-let's just get this over with," Ren caved.

His walk of shame over to the library's doors was further exuberated by the fact that the gothic lolita with him did not even appear outwardly happy at her victory, but merely composed as she normally did. She then left the room and knocked 0.5 seconds later as planned.

"Trick-Or-Treat," Alice greeted a flushed Ren as he opened the door.

"Take it, you gremlin, and get back in here before someone sees us," he whispered with urgency. After shoving the orange cellophane bag back onto her, the Ultimate Baker quickly shuffled away from 'the scene of the crime.' Alice followed suit, albeit, not so quickly, and rummaging through the cookies all the while. Some had icing drawn in elaborate shapes of spiders and bats, and some were loaded up with marshmallows and peanut butter chunks. "Alice thinks these look delicious. Thank you, Ren," the Ultimate Gardener said before giving him a pat on the head.

He flushed, "Y-Yeah, yeah... I'm going to go take a nap now."
 

Nara

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My entry. Not a cute one but still PG-13 :FitPar:

WP Entertainment, an agency known for producing popular girl groups, announced the debut of a long time trainee and new solo artist, Cha Sujeong. Cha Sujeong, who has been a trainee since she was 13 years old, has been adored by the WP family and has already garnered sizable fans. WP posted a video of her singing a medley of BTS’ hits, such as Blood, Sweat & Tears, DNA, Dynamite and Butter, attracting interest of many and hitting 300k views in 24 hours. She’ll be making her debut in mid-November with a first mini album which features five songs, with the scheduler dropping on Halloween night (October 31, 2021).

WP’s announcement of her debut has caught the attention of the media. Netizens have noticed the similarities between this rookie solo artist and the late solo artist, Cha Sujeong, who went missing on October 31, 2001. Some netizens have noted that they even look alike and raised conflicting questions as to why the two women share the same birthday. A few twitter users even speculated that the rookie’s agent is using late Sujeong as a concept. Meanwhile, many keep wondering how late Sujeong met her doomed fate. The online speculations have been torn between a suicide or a murder by a manager who seems to know much more than what he’s been telling the media. A few posts on community sites resurfaced over the years, stating they have seen Sujeong hanging out with numerous men at the bars, mostly popular and influential older male idols, drinking underage and smoking with them. 365 Company, the company of late solo artist, has been rumored to have connections to the mafia.

“Oh, Sujeong,” a man combed her beautiful long black curls with a thick brush. Her skin was purple, black pupils pale, arms by her side when he hugged her from behind, embracing her porcelain skin in kisses. Two decades have not changed his beautiful woman, they only made her even more beautiful, dressed up just like his favorite doll. Their cups of tea clinked together against each other as they celebrated an anniversary of their love.

Sometimes he missed the love of his life’s stunning vocals, the silence killing him inside when he would sit her down at the kitchen table, moving her eyes open. Her voice was the reason why he fell in love with her. Her debut song ’Yesterday’ spoke to him and it gashed by the wind when he stood at the rooftop, contemplating the next move in his life after he broke up with his girlfriend. ‘Come with me, I will take your hand and run with you’… Her beautiful voice is like a soothing caramel. He knew that his woman was meant to be the love of his life. And these 20 years have only proved. Yet, he missed who she was. With the help of a shaman 7 years ago, he carried her body behind the fields. The only way to bring her to life, would be if he were to bury her body on the most magical night of the year, Halloween, with her hand outside so she could dig herself out back to life. She was light, her long hair scattered across her lifeless face, arms swaying, touching the brilliantly colored flowers. Prickled by the thorns, he laid her body to rest, crying when her body disappeared under the meters of filthy ground. “We will see each other soon, my love.”

Days have passed by, yet she has not returned. A shaman promised that she will be back to the one she loves the most within 24 hours, but the time has ticked much longer. Has she lost her way while trying to look for him? He wondered, pacing around, grabbing his car keys after he slipped his hands inside the coat, to head back to that place. He will look for her with a flashlight, go back to her grave, where he buried her. He was a fool for paying such money. No one ever comes back from the dead, yet he hopelessly believed he could bring anyone back.

Yet, when he opened the door to head out, a dirty woman stood in front of him, her eyes colorless. Body swayed in her weak steps, rocking back and forth, barely holding onto the door when she wobbled inside, held back by him before he sat her down. He dropped onto his knees for her, kissing all over her hands, nuzzling his nose against her legs. Her voice rasped, “I am back,” yet her voice was no longer the same, deeper and lower, full of the dirt, stones stuck to her tongue. Her curls messy, yet he has never been more attracted to her in his life, his hands rubbed against her. “You came back to me. Yes, you did.” But it was very selfish of him to hold her back at his home. He fell in love with her singing, and soon she took up on the singing, only coming to life when she stood in front of the microphone. Her eyes sparked with the brightness and her smile illuminated in the beautiful pictures he framed in their bedroom above their bed. The plants he gifted around her bloomed in the vases, massaged by the tenderness in her vocals that even made the producers fall in love with his Sujeong.

He watched her debut stage, laughing to himself once again when he remembered that this was the same woman from 20 years ago, yet even her parents failed to recognize her. Last time he checked they were still looking for her. She was alive, well, yes. But he was not going to give her back. This time he belonged to her. He did not like it when she stayed longer in the studio, hearing her laugh when the producer touched her arm, tickling her skin. He did not like it when the male manager curled his arm around hers, stealing her away to a schedule when he followed them with a car from behind. He didn’t like it when the stylist got too close to her, measuring her. The audience clapped after her debut stage. She came out, a long black dress following her as it dragged all the way from the stairs. The manager and CEO rushed to hug her, returning their hugs. Envy shrieked in his eyes when he watched her stand so closely to them.

She came back to the dressing room, a door locked behind them, a smile on her face. Her eyes glittered around in the sparkles, lights shimmered above their heads when she stood in front of him, her orange perfume pulling him closer towards her. “Darling,” she called him, a hint of love in her voice. “Thank you for everything.” “No problems,” he told her, spreading his arms to hug her.

“You always stood by my side, wondering what I could do for you,” she whispered to him, dropping her arms around him. “Always stay with me.” Her hold tightened around him, her hand reaching for a razor left at the table. His head bumped against her shoulder. “I love you,” she whispered to him before kissing him on his ear, a promise so empty just like the words, her voice suddenly cold like her body. His body dropped at the floor, his scream so warm against her ear when he dropped onto the floor, convulsing. Her hands spilled in his blood when she stepped over his dying body. She took a scarlet red lipstick from the table, opening its lid when she sat down. He demanded her to know why she did that that while he croaked, his arm reaching for her leg before she kicked it away. He tried again, this time her heel dug deep into his palm. “Up to the sky, we all go there someday,” she hummed, while she put the lipstick on her lips, pouting her lips together. And then she laughed, her laugh shaking the walls, chest full with the heartbeats once again.

THE END
 

Chiharu

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I Can't Believe My Murder Mystery Turned Into Halloween-Themed Fluff?!
A "The Mystery of H+ Academy" AU where no one dies and Alice and Ren get to be cute and silly.

Ren glanced at the library's imposing doors for a third time; his paranoia was increasingly becoming more difficult to pretend he didn't have, but so was his irritation at his own inaction. This was getting stupid. He just needed to get it over with if he had already gone through the trouble! Sighing, he finally forced himself up from his couch and quietly shuffled over to Alice and her throne—or, that's what it might as well have been, anyway.

"Hey, Alice."

The Ultimate Gardener hummed in acknowledgement. Before he continued, he took one final glance at the doors—okay, good, they were definitely still alone—and reached into his backpack he had with him. Alice lifted her gaze from the book in her lap and watched the movement with reserved interest. What was that she was reading anyway? Phantom of the Opera?

"Happy Halloween."

Ren unceremoniously dropped an orange cellophane bag on top of her open book, and its material crinkled loudly when she held it up to get a closer look.

After a moment of silence, Alice politely informed him, "Today isn't Halloween."

Jesus Christ.

"No shit, Sherlock! But we're not going to see each other when it is, so I baked the cookies last night to give to you today," he said, clearly pained by this whole ordeal. Him—the Ultimate Baker—willingly getting himself into an ultimate awkward situation; what a chump, an absolute loser!

"Alice didn't go 'Trick-Or-Treat'."

"Alright, you know what? Give it back, you-" he started reaching only to be cut off by a palpable sense of resistance from the Ultimate Gardener. "Alice will give it back... if Alice gets to leave the library and knock on the door and say 'Trick-Or-Treat'. Then Ren will give Alice the treat again. Then it will be like Halloween."

"Fuck. No."

Alice's eyebrows furrowed very straight, and her frown stretched very round; it was almost a cartoonishly perfect demonstration of indignation on her part, but he shouldn't let himself be swayed by that.

Definitely not.

Of course not.

"Goddammit, l-let's just get this over with," Ren caved.

His walk of shame over to the library's doors was further exuberated by the fact that the gothic lolita with him did not even appear outwardly happy at her victory, but merely composed as she normally did. She then left the room and knocked 0.5 seconds later as planned.

"Trick-Or-Treat," Alice greeted a flushed Ren as he opened the door.

"Take it, you gremlin, and get back in here before someone sees us," he whispered with urgency. After shoving the orange cellophane bag back onto her, the Ultimate Baker quickly shuffled away from 'the scene of the crime.' Alice followed suit, albeit, not so quickly, and rummaging through the cookies all the while. Some had icing drawn in elaborate shapes of spiders and bats, and some were loaded up with marshmallows and peanut butter chunks. "Alice thinks these look delicious. Thank you, Ren," the Ultimate Gardener said before giving him a pat on the head.

He flushed, "Y-Yeah, yeah... I'm going to go take a nap now."
:poggers: the way you perfectly captured their personalities
 

Seriously

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I Can't Believe My Murder Mystery Turned Into Halloween-Themed Fluff?!
A "The Mystery of H+ Academy" AU where no one dies and Alice and Ren get to be cute and silly.

Ren glanced at the library's imposing doors for a third time; his paranoia was increasingly becoming more difficult to pretend he didn't have, but so was his irritation at his own inaction. This was getting stupid. He just needed to get it over with if he had already gone through the trouble! Sighing, he finally forced himself up from his couch and quietly shuffled over to Alice and her throne—or, that's what it might as well have been, anyway.

"Hey, Alice."

The Ultimate Gardener hummed in acknowledgement. Before he continued, he took one final glance at the doors—okay, good, they were definitely still alone—and reached into his backpack he had with him. Alice lifted her gaze from the book in her lap and watched the movement with reserved interest. What was that she was reading anyway? Phantom of the Opera?

"Happy Halloween."

Ren unceremoniously dropped an orange cellophane bag on top of her open book, and its material crinkled loudly when she held it up to get a closer look.

After a moment of silence, Alice politely informed him, "Today isn't Halloween."

Jesus Christ.

"No shit, Sherlock! But we're not going to see each other when it is, so I baked the cookies last night to give to you today," he said, clearly pained by this whole ordeal. Him—the Ultimate Baker—willingly getting himself into an ultimate awkward situation; what a chump, an absolute loser!

"Alice didn't go 'Trick-Or-Treat'."

"Alright, you know what? Give it back, you-" he started reaching only to be cut off by a palpable sense of resistance from the Ultimate Gardener. "Alice will give it back... if Alice gets to leave the library and knock on the door and say 'Trick-Or-Treat'. Then Ren will give Alice the treat again. Then it will be like Halloween."

"Fuck. No."

Alice's eyebrows furrowed very straight, and her frown stretched very round; it was almost a cartoonishly perfect demonstration of indignation on her part, but he shouldn't let himself be swayed by that.

Definitely not.

Of course not.

"Goddammit, l-let's just get this over with," Ren caved.

His walk of shame over to the library's doors was further exuberated by the fact that the gothic lolita with him did not even appear outwardly happy at her victory, but merely composed as she normally did. She then left the room and knocked 0.5 seconds later as planned.

"Trick-Or-Treat," Alice greeted a flushed Ren as he opened the door.

"Take it, you gremlin, and get back in here before someone sees us," he whispered with urgency. After shoving the orange cellophane bag back onto her, the Ultimate Baker quickly shuffled away from 'the scene of the crime.' Alice followed suit, albeit, not so quickly, and rummaging through the cookies all the while. Some had icing drawn in elaborate shapes of spiders and bats, and some were loaded up with marshmallows and peanut butter chunks. "Alice thinks these look delicious. Thank you, Ren," the Ultimate Gardener said before giving him a pat on the head.

He flushed, "Y-Yeah, yeah... I'm going to go take a nap now."
Sorry maid, change of plan... THIS is the Netflix adaptation I want. :pandafrozen:
 

Chiharu

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:pepesanta:The results are out! There were more entries than I thought there would be, but I'm happy to see so many people wanted to participate, and I enjoyed reading all of your stories. That said, onto the placements.

@Love with a perfect score of 30!
A tie between @sm maid and @Cinna with a score of 29
@Vampire with a score of 28!

For detailed results and some comments from me, see this
 

Chiharu

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:poggers: the lucky winner of the polaroid is...

@OutroTearTheFirst congratulations!
B38fvrB.png
 

UMJI MOODS

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Thank you Chiharu.
Congratulations to the winners and all who participated. Such wonderful stories.
I love how I am always in last place in the random generator. As it should be. Hahahaha
Edit: Oops. People are sad. Don't worry, it is funny.​
 
Last edited:

Vampire

and do I dream again?
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Oh, how exciting! This was the first writing contest that I've entered on H+ :poggers: I'm glad I participated and that so many others did as well! Thank you, @Chiharu, for hosting this event and reading my story! Actually, thank you to everyone who read my story, too. Happy Halloween! :RunPar:
 
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